How Indiana fared
Indiana 24, Illinois 14
Finally, a Big Ten win! So what if it was against the Illini - the Hoosiers needed this. The win in Champaign kept IU’s hopes for a bowl alive. At 4-6, the Hoosiers have two winnable games left, but it’s hard to know which IU team will show up from week to week.
Even at 5-7, however, there’s a chance that Indiana could still make a bowl based on APR scores. We’ll have more about that coming soon.
Around the B1G
Ohio State 48, Michigan State 3
Wow, what a difference actually using your running backs makes for the Buckeyes. Sure, Ohio State played its most complete game of the season, but this still isn’t a playoff team, even if they win out and win the conference title. Last week’s loss by 31 to Iowa - we’ll get to the Hawkeyes in a moment - should disqualify OSU from the playoff.
Wisconsin 38, Iowa 14
Wisconsin played their most complete game of the season, holding Iowa, a team that scored 55 points last week, to 66 yards of offense. The offense is still a bit one-dimensional, but that’s not a huge concern when that defense is for real. An undefeated regular season is looking like a real possibility, providing they get by Michigan this weekend.
Minnesota 54, Nebraska 21
The Huskers may have just hit rock bottom under Mike Riley. Bob Diaco’s defense has been an embarrassment this year for Nebraska, and the Gophers reclaimed the $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy thanks to over 400 total yards rushing. Unless there are any surprises, Nebraska will most likely be the only open job in the Big Ten this offseason, and if the Huskers lose out on hometown hero Scott Frost, the direction they take their coaching search should be an interesting one.
Northwestern 23, Purdue 13
Penn State 35, Rutger 6
Michigan 35, Maryland 10
These games all happened.
Elsewhere in College Football
Miami 41, Notre Dame 8
This game was literally off the chain. Turnover chain, that is - as the Hurricanes took advantage of 4 turnovers to beat Notre Dame by a whopping 33 points. Mark Richt has staged an incredible turnaround in just two years at The U, and Manny Diaz might get some calls for head coach positions with the way he’s rebuilt that Miami defense. The Canes had a ton of questions throughout the year, but after convincing wins over both Virginia Tech and ND, it’s time to take them seriously.
As for Notre Dame, it’s hard to be too disappointed about a season where you finish 9-3 or 10-2 and get a New Year’s Six bowl after going 4-8 the year before, but the Irish definitely blew a chance to make a statement and are bascially out of CFP contention.
Auburn 40, Georgia 17
The Auburn-Georgia rivalry is underrated and the hate is clearly there on both sides, but something weird always happens when these two teams meet, so it was a shocker to see the Tigers completely dismantle the #1 team in the country. Gus Malzahn showed that he’s still one of the more inventive offensive minds in the country, and the Tigers defense didn’t let UGA get anything going all day. A great win for Auburn, and a great setup for the Iron Bowl in a couple weekends, especially because...
Alabama 31, Mississippi State 24
The Tide survived a late scare from CLANGA in Starkville, thanks to some Jalen Hurts heroics late in the game. Bama is banged up right now, but as we’ve learned throughout the years, counting a Nick Saban team out is a dumb thing to do.
UCF 49, UConn 24
The Knights did not receive the Civil ConFLiCT trophy for winning this game, because the Civil ConFLiCT was never a real thing, and therefore does not exist, because the UConn-UCF game is not a rivalry.
Wake Forest 64, Syracuse 43
Well it looked like at least ONE coach knows how to attack that 2-3 zone –
Wait, you’re telling me this was a football score?
1. THE U
I got Miami at #1 this week, based on their strength of schedule ahead of Bama, whose first week victory over FSU is looking unimpressive. But both are the clear top two right now. The Sooners are third, coming off a very impressive 38-20 victory over TCU. And right now I have Clemson in here as well, as the Tigers continue to steadily win games to close out their season and have a date with Miami already penciled in for the ACC title.
After the craziness of last weekend, I’d put Wisconsin(!) at 5, while Auburn comes in at 6. A two-loss team in the playoff? If the Tigers win out, it’s not as crazy as it sounds!
Baker Mayfield may have wrapped this one up, but the Sooners better win their final two regular-season games and the Big 12 title game just to make sure.
Where does Tennessee go next?
Tennessee is finally rid of Butch Jones. Yes, Jones improved the program for a few years before this season’s implosion, but he was an awkward fit from the start, his teams never had an identity, he said the dumbest press conference quotes like “champions of life” and “five star heart,” and his players held a dang trashcan up on the sidelines to celebrate a turnover. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I did not like Butch Jones.
With Florida, Ole Miss, and perhaps a couple other SEC schools going coach-shopping this offseason, it will be a crowded market for Tennessee AD John Currie to compete with. Vols fans will of course want to start the search with Jon Gruden. When he laughs and turns them down, Tennessee should pursue Dan Mullen, who’s done a fantastic job at Mississippi State. Mike Norvell from the other side of the state in Memphis could also be a good candidate, and with a lower buyout and coming off an up and down season, could the Vols pursue Bobby Petrino? Or could it be time for the return of Lane Kiffin? To me, this is the most interesting opening of the offseason - the Vols have been in flux since Phil Fulmer was forced out a decade ago, but the right coach could make all the difference in Knoxville.
PREPARE YOURSELVES FOR RUTGER.
HIGH NOON, MEMORIAL STADIUM, BIG TEN NETWORK.
Otherwise, uhhhhh, week 12 is not really a great week for games, as a lot of SEC/ACC teams play group of 5 or FCS opponents in preparation for their rivalry games to end the year. I guess Michigan-Wisconsin could be fun if your idea of fun is all defense and no offense.